Design thinking uses the sensibility of the designer to match the needs of people and determines what is viable in terms of business and technological viability. Developments in design thinking have emphasised the relevance of human-centric or user aspects. Design in this context is related to the direct contact with the user which should be driven by demand and deep understanding of the needs of the consumer. In the same vein, the focus of brand management has shifted to the human role, and thus many humans are involved. In outlining the link between brand management and design thinking, Matthews & Wrigley, (2017) argues that design management can be the differentiator, initiator and transformer of good brand management. Through design thinking, designs can create brands that can become a source of competitive advantage in the market through brand equity. Design can also be the integrator that improves the development of new products and innovation processes. Design thinking can also be a transformer creates new business opportunities and brands which can interpret the organisation better in the market place.
I have observed that a good brand is priceless to any business organisation. With the problem-solving approach to design thinking, organisations can learn better how to develop, integrate, market and manage their brand in the marketplace. To develop effective brand strategy, a manager must understand the intricacies and components that make up the consumer. Design thinking also takes a customer and human-centric approach where design is conceived from the perspective of the consumer. Creating a brand requires a mixture of attributes that are tangible and intangible which is symbolised in a trademark which can create influence and value when properly managed. Using a design thinking approach can aid this by taking a non-personalised view by identifying the needs of the customers, therefore creating brands that are not only meaning to the customer but also create value for the organisation. Value can mean different things to different people (Wood, 2000). Organisations can perceive value in terms of performance and customers can perceive value in terms of the promise and delivery of an experience.
Kapferer, (2012) points out that it takes more than branding to build a brand. Because a brand creates a positive communication and encapsulates a symbol of the products and services to the clients, it is important to understand the needs of the clients to create a successful brand. Design thinking can aid the creation of successful brands because it is user-centric. Design Management Institute, (2017) argues that adopting a design thinking approach aids the development of compelling products and services that resonate with consumers and produces financial rewards consistently whilst also building brand loyalty. A business succeeds by optimising the internal structure, communication, governance and tools but a firm experience more success when the internal culture aligns with the external brand offer.
In conclusion, brand and design thinking appears to be converging around value creation. This is because the design thinking approach and brand strategy depends to a significant extent on a deep understanding of the consumer, their context and challenges, their needs that are unmet. Creating effective brands therefore depends on how the firm can create lasting solutions that address the problems if clients whilst also creating a strong and positive brand.
Design Management Institute (2017), What is Design Thinking? Available at: https://www.dmi.org/page/WhatisDesignThink (Accessed: January 7, 2019).
Kapferer, J.N., (2012). The new strategic brand management: Advanced insights and strategic thinking. Kogan page publishers.
Matthews, J.H. and Wrigley, C., (2017). Design and design thinking in business and management higher education. Journal of Learning Design, 10(1), pp.41-54.
Wood, L., (2000). Brands and brand equity: definition and management. Management decision, 38(9), pp.662-669.